Loading...
I have been watching the commercials for the third district race and found it to be a down-to-the-wire-event. We have...

If history is any indications, it's Biden time

douglascohn.jpg
1 of 2

Douglas Cohn

eleanorclift.jpg
Loading…

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Voters are evenly split over who will win the White House in 2020, with 43 percent saying President Trump will get reelected, and 43 percent saying the next president will be a Democrat, according to an NBC poll. One thing certain, however, is that a Democratic president would be the polar opposite of Trump.

That’s what history says beginning with Jimmy Carter, a born-again Christian who vowed to never lie to the American people. Voters tend to elect each president as an antidote to the previous one. Richard Nixon’s lies about the Watergate break-in of Democratic Party headquarters, the cover-up that followed, and President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon opened a path to the White House for the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia.

Carter downsized the glamour of the White House, for a time even banning the playing of “Hail to the Chief” when he entered a room. What he was unable to downsize were historically high interest rates, and that opened the door for Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor who won in a landslide in 1980.

After Reagan came Vice President George H.W. Bush, promising to be “kinder and gentler” than Reagan had been, but then he broke a promise and raised taxes. So, William Jefferson Clinton followed in January 1993, a small state governor from Arkansas with no foreign policy experience. Surely Bush, a World War II hero, would make mincemeat of Clinton, a draft dodger, but that didn’t happen.

Texas Governor George W. Bush succeeded Clinton and his sex-scandal-plagued presidency in an election where the Democrat, Al Gore, won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. After two terms of Bush and two his costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Barack Obama offered a radically different perspective.

We went from “don’t mess with Texas” to a cool intellectual who had taught constitutional law, and who represented the changing demographics of the country. Obama won two terms with a clear popular vote and Electoral College mandate, setting the stage for a backlash that was as toxic as it was sudden.

Voters who congratulated themselves for electing the first African-American president now saw the rise of white nationalism and white supremacy, a dangerous brew threatening the very foundation of a representative democracy. Enter Donald Trump, a sneering, vulgar, lying, inexperienced, inattentive, anti-immigrant, dictator-coddling populist.

Now, the most obvious antidote to Trump is someone who is honest, experienced, and mature, qualities that may turn 2020 into Biden time. He leads in the polls and hasn’t yet announced.

Biden has what it takes to be president. A senator at 29, he was Obama’s vice president for eight years. His first test will be to match the prowess of the other major candidates in fundraising. Beto O’Rourke raised $6 million the first day after announcing; Bernie Sanders reached $6 million in 48 hours, and Kamala Harris brought in $1.5 million her first day.

Holding his own in social media and online fundraising will be an important test of Biden’s relevancy in a new political landscape.

Biden has significant attributes, beginning with his moderate appeal beyond the Democratic base to Independent voters and disgruntled Republicans who will determine the next president. He is a highly respected, decent and collegial politician with friends on both sides of the aisle, strong pluses in this polarized atmosphere.

He also faces obstacles, many of them the result of his 30 years in the U.S. Senate where he chaired or was the ranking member on the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. In those capacities, he voted for the Iraq invasion, a punitive crime bill, and helped wave through Clarence Thomas to a seat on the Supreme Court. But the public places a statute of limitations on long ago votes.

Best guess? Biden will announce, donations will pour in, and he will shoot up in the polls sufficiently fast to encourage others to just as quickly drop out of the race. This crowded race may be over before it barely begins.

Washington Merry-Go-Round, America’s longest-running column in syndication, presents today’s events in historical perspective. Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift are veteran commentators.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

June 10, 2019

The New York Times 

“Because it’s there.” For those who grew up on George Mallory’s famous explanation for his yearning to scale Mount Everest, with all the romance, danger and spirit of exploration it implied, that viral photograph of an endless line of climbers in…

June 10, 2019

Although it may not appear so, the leaders of both major political parties in North Carolina favor lowering the tax burden of large businesses. Their real dispute is about the scope and magnitude of the tax relief.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has consistently opposed recent state budgets, crafted by…

john hood.jpg

June 10, 2019

We are just weeks away from the first of 20 Democratic debates scheduled this primary season. It gets underway over two nights in Miami on June 26 and 27, and never before has there been a debate this early in the election and potentially this important.

The reason there are so many candidates, 23…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

June 09, 2019

Gerrymandering has always been part of American politics. After all, the term was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts governor and Founding Father Elbridge Gerry endorsed a state senate district that resembled a salamander.

Until recently, federal courts have been highly reluctant to enter the…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

June 09, 2019

It is not unfair to point out that President Trump, on many important subjects, is just an ignoramus.

A vivid illustration of this unfortunate fact came this week in London, when it was revealed that Prince Charles, a knowledgeable environmentalist, had tried to educate the president on climate…

Eugene Robinson

June 09, 2019

"When you are told all your life you're dumb, unworthy, you start believing it. God changed that for me."

Jerry, from Youngstown, Tennessee, hesitated to be interviewed by Chris Arnade, because "I don't know my ABCs, so I can't really talk right." He told Arnade, the author of the new book…

kathrynlopez

June 09, 2019

Senate Republicans are pushing back on President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. But if Mexican officials think these Republicans are going to save them from Trump's tariffs, it's time for them to think again.

So far, congressional Republicans have managed to remain bystanders in Trump's…

MarcThiessen

June 08, 2019

In 1940, some 3.6 million people lived in North Carolina, ranking the state 11th in the nation in population and first in the Southeast. Across the South as a whole, only Texas (6.4 million) was more populous.

If present trends continue, by 2040 North Carolina will have a population of about 12.7…

john hood.jpg

June 08, 2019

The Charlotte Observer

How much money is too much for a high school football coach? North Carolina’s second largest school district has provided something of an answer.

Last month, Vance High School coach Aaron Brand cashed in on a successful five-year run in Charlotte and accepted a coaching…

June 08, 2019

In 1788 the Hillsborough Convention convened to consider ratification of the U.S. Constitution and also to approve an “unalterable” seat of government. They did neither.

The Constitution, they determined, lacked assurances of personal rights the delegates deemed essential and, after…

Tom Campbell
229 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 23
        Next Page»   Last Page»